UPDATE: Amazing. Just as I hit post on this, I received a comment on the previous post from Lorelle. Follow that link and see what a WordPress.com blog looks like. Thank you, Lorelle. First, for confirming that it is WPMU. Second, for being on the prowl for links and helping ease the frustration level. You’ve got to see her blog. It is a perfect example of WordPress evangelism. That kind of information should be on all the empty links I describe below.
Another UPDATE: The links have been fixed. (Read the post below.) Seems someone did the wise thing and put redirects in their .htaccess for those URLs to the WordPress.com mainpage. Great going WP! Only took a half of a day. Perhaps someone actually reads this blog after all.
Now, on to my hopes for WordPress.com….
Another learning experience. I fear WordPress has erred in some of their tactics in this startup of WordPress.com.
When you are doing a launch of a new initiative, you must think through all the possibilities. I fear (in fact, am about to show you evidence) that WordPress did not think this thing through. They need representation. I imagine many are now in a scrammble to give it to them.
This isn’t intended to be harsh criticism. Just helpful thoughts for how to catch up, now that the errors are painfully evident. Remember. I am a fan. I want WordPress to succeed. 😀
WordPress wants to be a leader. They want this latest initiative to give them greater buzz and strengthen their brand in the online world – particularly for business. So, they should have crossed the T’s and dotted the I’s. They haven’t. It will cause angst among people wishing to find out about this new offering.
A search of Yahoo, Google and other search engines for links will give you many links to 404 errors. Not blank 404, but areas of the existing site which could have been filled in with pertinent information to help drive their meme.
As an example, I’m going to take the first page of Yahoo! results for a WordPress.com search.
Link #1: That takes you to their offer. A simple page which provides an opportunity to sign up and wait for an invite.
Link #2: A 404. It is an existing page and could be filled in quickly with even the most basic of info. This will diminish the frustration of visitors.
Link #4: The real codex link. http://codex.wordpress.org
Link #5: See #3. Another subdomain – http://validercode.wordpress.com/ – empty
Link #6: Their pingback page – “XML-RPC server accepts POST requests only.”
Link #7: Another empty page that could be filled with simple info.
Link #8: Their “About” page. And, it is empty. Very sad.
Link #9: Empty Archive page. And, this is where we get the clue that WordPress.com may well be WordPress Multiuser (WPMU). “WordPress MU” is on the page.
Link #10: Another empty existing page which could be filled in.
Think about this. We know that most surfers only choose the first 10 links they get in their search. We know what the links are that they will get before the launch. In the examples above, we only see two good links and only one of them is pertinent to WordPress.com’s launch. These are wasted opportunities. It makes me sad.
The launch was done very quiet, so there was no opportunity for advocates like me (and many others) to jump in with suggestions and help. I wish WordPress would have learned from their “Asbestos Juice (Adsense)” episode and sought out competent advice prior to the launch.
I have written about these brilliant young minds, like Mullenweg, before. I appreciate and respect what they have accomplished. I wish they’d recognize that they need help now.
My point? If you are going to play with big business. Act like them. Think these things through. Do the homework on your launch and all the possibilities that may arise when you launch. The announcement at BBS05 was bound to create great interest. It has. Each hour that passes, the meme grows. Each hour offers more opportunities for heightened interest – or, in this case – heightened frustration.
Come on WP – get with it! I want you to succeed! Heck, I will even help.
This is the unfortunate aspect of a group of programmers/developers trying to do things with a volunteer community. Reach out to your advocates. Let them help you. Avoid these bumps in the road.